GT610 PCI

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For some time now I've been on the lookout for a "modern" GPU with a PCI interface to breathe some life into my older machines without breaking the bank but it was never much of a priority. That is until a few weeks ago when DosFox posted about an odd unbranded PCI Nvidia GT 610 on Twitter so I decided to pick one up myself. Soon enough my "MQX POWER GeForce GT610 1GB PCI VGA,DVI,HDMI 3D Video Card Graphics" arrived and this card is a bit of a mystery. The only branding on the card is from "MQX POWER" but it looks an awful lot like a Zotac card based on the orange ports and black PCB.

Zotac did produce a PCI version of the GT 610 but with only 512MB of GDDR3 video memory. They also made a PCI version of the GT 520 with 1024MB video memory.

So what are these cards actually?

Physical comparison

Zotec provides high resolution images of both the GT 520 and GT 610

The GT 520 and GT 610 have nearly identical circuit boards, so much so that the product imagery for the back of the GT 610 has the sticker for a GT 520 under the edge of the heatsink! This makes sense because both cards use the same Nvidia GF119-300 chip, and even the same clock speeds. The MQX card uses the same heatsink as the Zotac GT 610 Synergy.

Lets dig a bit deeper.

After removing the heatsink and cleaning off the thermal compound that was dryer than the Sahara desert (are these cards used??) we can see the Nvidia GF119-300-A1 chip and four Hynix H5TQ1G63DFR. This "MQX" card is clearly a re-branded Zotac.

PCI identifiers

After installing the card in a PC the first problems come up; namely that this card wont work before the OS loads, and my test PC wouldn't even POST if it was the only video card in the system. Not a good sign.

After installing a second video card so I could boot, the MQX card presents 3 PCI devices:

~# lspci
...
37:09.0 PCI bridge: Pericom Semiconductor PI7C9X111SL PCIe-to-PCI Reversible Bridge (rev 01)
38:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GF119 [GeForce GT 610] (rev a1)
38:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GF119 HDMI Audio Controller (rev a1)

The GF119 has a PCIe interface so a PI7C9X111SL PCIe-to-PCI chip is used to connect the chipset to the PCI bus.

~# lspci -s 37:09 -vvvv -xxx
37:09.0 PCI bridge: Pericom Semiconductor PI7C9X111SL PCIe-to-PCI Reversible Bridge (rev 01) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
	Physical Slot: 5
	Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR+ FastB2B- DisINTx-
	Status: Cap+ 66MHz+ UDF- FastB2B+ ParErr- DEVSEL=medium >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
	Latency: 32, Cache Line Size: 64 bytes
	Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 21
	Bus: primary=37, secondary=38, subordinate=38, sec-latency=0
	I/O behind bridge: 0000e000-0000efff
	Memory behind bridge: ec000000-ed0fffff
	Prefetchable memory behind bridge: 00000000d6000000-00000000dfffffff
	Secondary status: 66MHz- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort+ <SERR- <PERR-
	BridgeCtl: Parity- SERR+ NoISA- VGA- MAbort- >Reset- FastB2B-
		PriDiscTmr- SecDiscTmr- DiscTmrStat- DiscTmrSERREn-
	Capabilities: [a8] Subsystem: Device 0000:0000
	Capabilities: [b0] Express (v1) PCI-Express to PCI/PCI-X Bridge, MSI 00
		DevCap:	MaxPayload 256 bytes, PhantFunc 0
			ExtTag+ AttnBtn- AttnInd- PwrInd- RBE- SlotPowerLimit 0.000W
		DevCtl:	Report errors: Correctable- Non-Fatal- Fatal- Unsupported-
			RlxdOrd- ExtTag+ PhantFunc- AuxPwr- NoSnoop- BrConfRtry-
			MaxPayload 128 bytes, MaxReadReq 512 bytes
		DevSta:	CorrErr- UncorrErr- FatalErr- UnsuppReq- AuxPwr+ TransPend+
		LnkCap:	Port #0, Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x1, ASPM L0s L1, Exit Latency L0s <512ns, L1 <1us
			ClockPM- Surprise- LLActRep+ BwNot- ASPMOptComp-
		LnkCtl:	ASPM Disabled; RCB 64 bytes Disabled- CommClk-
			ExtSynch- ClockPM- AutWidDis- BWInt- AutBWInt-
		LnkSta:	Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x1, TrErr- Train- SlotClk+ DLActive+ BWMgmt- ABWMgmt-
	Capabilities: [d8] Vital Product Data
pcilib: sysfs_read_vpd: read failed: Input/output error
		Not readable
	Capabilities: [f0] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
		Address: 0000000000000000  Data: 0000
	Kernel modules: shpchp
00: d8 12 11 e1 07 01 b0 02 01 00 04 06 10 20 01 00
10: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 37 38 38 00 e1 e1 00 20
20: 00 ec 00 ed 01 d6 f1 df 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
30: 00 00 00 00 a8 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 01 02 00
40: 20 00 20 09 00 00 00 00 1f 82 40 00 00 00 00 00
50: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
60: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 08 00 80 00 00 00 00
70: 88 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
80: 07 90 00 00 f8 ff 00 00 10 00 10 00 10 00 10 00
90: 01 a8 42 c8 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
a0: 04 b0 00 00 00 00 00 00 0d b0 00 00 00 00 00 00
b0: 10 d8 71 00 21 00 00 00 00 21 30 00 11 3c 10 00
c0: 00 00 11 30 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 60 10 00 04
d0: 71 02 00 04 54 02 19 00 03 f0 00 80 04 71 02 00
e0: ff ff 00 00 ff ff ff ff 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

From here on the output is typical of a GT 610. Note the Zotac string ZOTAC International (MCO) Ltd. GF119 [GeForce GT 610]

~# lspci -s 38:00 -vvvv -xxx
38:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GF119 [GeForce GT 610] (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
	Subsystem: ZOTAC International (MCO) Ltd. GF119 [GeForce GT 610]
	Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR- FastB2B- DisINTx-
	Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
	Latency: 0
	Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 21
	Region 0: Memory at ec000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16M]
	Region 1: Memory at d8000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=128M]
	Region 3: Memory at d6000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=32M]
	Region 5: I/O ports at e000 [size=128]
	[virtual] Expansion ROM at ed080000 [disabled] [size=512K]
	Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 3
		Flags: PMEClk- DSI- D1- D2- AuxCurrent=0mA PME(D0-,D1-,D2-,D3hot-,D3cold-)
		Status: D0 NoSoftRst+ PME-Enable- DSel=0 DScale=0 PME-
	Capabilities: [68] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
		Address: 0000000000000000  Data: 0000
	Capabilities: [78] Express (v2) Endpoint, MSI 00
		DevCap:	MaxPayload 128 bytes, PhantFunc 0, Latency L0s unlimited, L1 <64us
			ExtTag+ AttnBtn- AttnInd- PwrInd- RBE+ FLReset- SlotPowerLimit 0.000W
		DevCtl:	Report errors: Correctable- Non-Fatal- Fatal- Unsupported-
			RlxdOrd+ ExtTag+ PhantFunc- AuxPwr- NoSnoop+
			MaxPayload 128 bytes, MaxReadReq 512 bytes
		DevSta:	CorrErr- UncorrErr- FatalErr- UnsuppReq- AuxPwr- TransPend-
		LnkCap:	Port #0, Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x16, ASPM L0s L1, Exit Latency L0s <1us, L1 <4us
			ClockPM+ Surprise- LLActRep- BwNot- ASPMOptComp-
		LnkCtl:	ASPM Disabled; RCB 64 bytes Disabled- CommClk-
			ExtSynch- ClockPM+ AutWidDis- BWInt- AutBWInt-
		LnkSta:	Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x1, TrErr- Train- SlotClk+ DLActive- BWMgmt- ABWMgmt-
		DevCap2: Completion Timeout: Not Supported, TimeoutDis+, LTR-, OBFF Not Supported
		DevCtl2: Completion Timeout: 50us to 50ms, TimeoutDis-, LTR-, OBFF Disabled
		LnkCtl2: Target Link Speed: 2.5GT/s, EnterCompliance- SpeedDis-
			 Transmit Margin: Normal Operating Range, EnterModifiedCompliance- ComplianceSOS-
			 Compliance De-emphasis: -6dB
		LnkSta2: Current De-emphasis Level: -6dB, EqualizationComplete-, EqualizationPhase1-
			 EqualizationPhase2-, EqualizationPhase3-, LinkEqualizationRequest-
	Capabilities: [b4] Vendor Specific Information: Len=14 <?>
	Kernel driver in use: nvidia
	Kernel modules: nvidiafb, nouveau, nvidia_drm, nvidia
00: de 10 4a 10 07 00 10 00 a1 00 00 03 00 00 80 00
10: 00 00 00 ec 0c 00 00 d8 00 00 00 00 0c 00 00 d6
20: 00 00 00 00 01 e0 00 00 00 00 00 00 da 19 28 12
30: 00 00 00 00 60 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 01 00 00
40: da 19 28 12 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
50: 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 ce d6 23 00 00 00 00 00
60: 01 68 03 00 08 00 00 00 05 78 80 00 00 00 00 00
70: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 10 b4 02 00 e0 8d 00 00
80: 10 29 00 00 01 4d 05 00 00 01 11 10 00 00 00 00
90: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 10 00 00 00
a0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
b0: 00 00 00 00 09 00 14 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
c0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
d0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
e0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
f0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

38:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GF119 HDMI Audio Controller (rev a1)
	Subsystem: ZOTAC International (MCO) Ltd. GF119 HDMI Audio Controller
	Control: I/O- Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR+ FastB2B- DisINTx-
	Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
	Latency: 0, Cache Line Size: 64 bytes
	Interrupt: pin B routed to IRQ 22
	Region 0: Memory at ed000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
	Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 3
		Flags: PMEClk- DSI- D1- D2- AuxCurrent=0mA PME(D0-,D1-,D2-,D3hot-,D3cold-)
		Status: D0 NoSoftRst+ PME-Enable- DSel=0 DScale=0 PME-
	Capabilities: [68] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
		Address: 0000000000000000  Data: 0000
	Capabilities: [78] Express (v2) Endpoint, MSI 00
		DevCap:	MaxPayload 128 bytes, PhantFunc 0, Latency L0s <4us, L1 <64us
			ExtTag+ AttnBtn- AttnInd- PwrInd- RBE+ FLReset- SlotPowerLimit 0.000W
		DevCtl:	Report errors: Correctable- Non-Fatal- Fatal- Unsupported-
			RlxdOrd+ ExtTag+ PhantFunc- AuxPwr- NoSnoop+
			MaxPayload 128 bytes, MaxReadReq 512 bytes
		DevSta:	CorrErr- UncorrErr- FatalErr- UnsuppReq- AuxPwr- TransPend-
		LnkCap:	Port #0, Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x16, ASPM L0s L1, Exit Latency L0s <1us, L1 <4us
			ClockPM+ Surprise- LLActRep- BwNot- ASPMOptComp-
		LnkCtl:	ASPM L0s L1 Enabled; RCB 64 bytes Disabled- CommClk-
			ExtSynch- ClockPM+ AutWidDis- BWInt- AutBWInt-
		LnkSta:	Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x1, TrErr- Train- SlotClk+ DLActive- BWMgmt- ABWMgmt-
		DevCap2: Completion Timeout: Not Supported, TimeoutDis+, LTR-, OBFF Not Supported
		DevCtl2: Completion Timeout: 50us to 50ms, TimeoutDis-, LTR-, OBFF Disabled
		LnkSta2: Current De-emphasis Level: -6dB, EqualizationComplete-, EqualizationPhase1-
			 EqualizationPhase2-, EqualizationPhase3-, LinkEqualizationRequest-
	Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel
	Kernel modules: snd_hda_intel
00: de 10 08 0e 06 01 10 00 a1 00 03 04 10 00 80 00
10: 00 00 00 ed 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
20: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 da 19 28 12
30: 00 00 00 00 60 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 05 02 00 00
40: da 19 28 12 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
50: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ce d6 23 00 00 00 00 00
60: 01 68 03 00 08 00 00 00 05 78 80 00 00 00 00 00
70: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 10 00 02 00 a0 8d 00 00
80: 10 29 00 00 01 4d 05 00 03 01 11 10 00 00 00 00
90: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 10 00 00 00
a0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
b0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
c0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
d0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
e0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
f0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

Software

On a linux system we can use nvidia-smi to view some information about the card

~# ~# nvidia-smi
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| NVIDIA-SMI 390.138                Driver Version: 390.138                   |
|-------------------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
| GPU  Name        Persistence-M| Bus-Id        Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr. ECC |
| Fan  Temp  Perf  Pwr:Usage/Cap|         Memory-Usage | GPU-Util  Compute M. |
|===============================+======================+======================|
|   0  GeForce GT 610      Off  | 00000000:38:00.0 N/A |                  N/A |
| 40%   41C    P0    N/A /  N/A |      0MiB /   964MiB |     N/A      Default |
+-------------------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
                                                                               
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Processes:                                                       GPU Memory |
|  GPU       PID   Type   Process name                             Usage      |
|=============================================================================|
|    0                    Not Supported                                       |
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
~# nvidia-smi -q

==============NVSMI LOG==============

Driver Version                      : 390.138

GPU 00000000:38:00.0
    Product Name                    : GeForce GT 610
    Product Brand                   : GeForce
    Display Mode                    : N/A
    Display Active                  : N/A
    Persistence Mode                : Disabled
    Accounting Mode                 : N/A
    Accounting Mode Buffer Size     : N/A
    Driver Model
        Current                     : N/A
        Pending                     : N/A
    Serial Number                   : N/A
    GPU UUID                        : GPU-7e528899-9c33-de52-2ac5-160ebe5dd72b
    Minor Number                    : 1
    VBIOS Version                   : 75.19.1B.00.01
    MultiGPU Board                  : N/A
    Board ID                        : N/A
    GPU Part Number                 : N/A
    Inforom Version
        Image Version               : N/A
        OEM Object                  : N/A
        ECC Object                  : N/A
        Power Management Object     : N/A
    GPU Operation Mode
        Current                     : N/A
        Pending                     : N/A
    GPU Virtualization Mode
        Virtualization mode         : N/A
    PCI
        Bus                         : 0x38
        Device                      : 0x00
        Domain                      : 0x0000
        Device Id                   : 0x104A10DE
        Bus Id                      : 00000000:38:00.0
        Sub System Id               : 0x122819DA
        GPU Link Info
            PCIe Generation
                Max                 : N/A
                Current             : N/A
            Link Width
                Max                 : N/A
                Current             : N/A
        Bridge Chip
            Type                    : N/A
            Firmware                : N/A
        Replays since reset         : N/A
        Tx Throughput               : N/A
        Rx Throughput               : N/A
    Fan Speed                       : 40 %
    Performance State               : P0
    Clocks Throttle Reasons         : N/A
    FB Memory Usage
        Total                       : 964 MiB
        Used                        : 0 MiB
        Free                        : 964 MiB
    BAR1 Memory Usage
        Total                       : N/A
        Used                        : N/A
        Free                        : N/A
    Compute Mode                    : Default
    Utilization
        Gpu                         : N/A
        Memory                      : N/A
        Encoder                     : N/A
        Decoder                     : N/A
    Encoder Stats
        Active Sessions             : N/A
        Average FPS                 : N/A
        Average Latency             : N/A
    Ecc Mode
        Current                     : N/A
        Pending                     : N/A
    ECC Errors
        Volatile
            Single Bit            
                Device Memory       : N/A
                Register File       : N/A
                L1 Cache            : N/A
                L2 Cache            : N/A
                Texture Memory      : N/A
                Texture Shared      : N/A
                CBU                 : N/A
                Total               : N/A
            Double Bit            
                Device Memory       : N/A
                Register File       : N/A
                L1 Cache            : N/A
                L2 Cache            : N/A
                Texture Memory      : N/A
                Texture Shared      : N/A
                CBU                 : N/A
                Total               : N/A
        Aggregate
            Single Bit            
                Device Memory       : N/A
                Register File       : N/A
                L1 Cache            : N/A
                L2 Cache            : N/A
                Texture Memory      : N/A
                Texture Shared      : N/A
                CBU                 : N/A
                Total               : N/A
            Double Bit            
                Device Memory       : N/A
                Register File       : N/A
                L1 Cache            : N/A
                L2 Cache            : N/A
                Texture Memory      : N/A
                Texture Shared      : N/A
                CBU                 : N/A
                Total               : N/A
    Retired Pages
        Single Bit ECC              : N/A
        Double Bit ECC              : N/A
        Pending                     : N/A
    Temperature
        GPU Current Temp            : 41 C
        GPU Shutdown Temp           : N/A
        GPU Slowdown Temp           : N/A
        GPU Max Operating Temp      : N/A
        Memory Current Temp         : N/A
        Memory Max Operating Temp   : N/A
    Power Readings
        Power Management            : N/A
        Power Draw                  : N/A
        Power Limit                 : N/A
        Default Power Limit         : N/A
        Enforced Power Limit        : N/A
        Min Power Limit             : N/A
        Max Power Limit             : N/A
    Clocks
        Graphics                    : N/A
        SM                          : N/A
        Memory                      : N/A
        Video                       : N/A
    Applications Clocks
        Graphics                    : N/A
        Memory                      : N/A
    Default Applications Clocks
        Graphics                    : N/A
        Memory                      : N/A
    Max Clocks
        Graphics                    : N/A
        SM                          : N/A
        Memory                      : N/A
        Video                       : N/A
    Max Customer Boost Clocks
        Graphics                    : N/A
    Clock Policy
        Auto Boost                  : N/A
        Auto Boost Default          : N/A
    Processes                       : N/A


Dumping the BIOS

Clearly something weird is going on, so lets take a look at the bios itself which is stored on a 64kB Pm25LD512 SPI flash chip on the back of the board.

I read it using flashrom over SPI using a Raspberry Pi which was completely painless.

The dumped bios is available here: File:Flash Pm25LD512.bin.zip

flash_Pm25LD512.bin md5sum 10b158b890b14f93f5dfaeac3b7c7672

Nothing immediately seems out of the ordinary to my untrained eye but there are a few notable strings:

IBM VGA Compatible
P08/04/19
GF119-300 P1310 SKU 0001 VGA BIOS (VB1)
Version 75.19.1B.00.01 
Copyright (C) 1996-2011 NVIDIA Corp.
GF119 Board - 13100001
PLEASE POWER DOWN AND CONNECT THE PCIe POWER CABLE(S) FOR THIS GRAPHICS CARD
13100001_vb1.romGF119-300 DT P1310 SKU 0000|0001

Based on https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/ version "75.19.1B.00.01" appears to be meant for GT520 cards but this bios has GT610 strings instead.

I tried flashing various GT520 and GT610 PCIe bioses to the card with no success. Only the original bios would work properly and I can't find downloads for any of the GT520/GT610 PCI bioses. If you have a copy of a bios for a 13100001 PCI board with 810/667 clocks please let me know :)

eBay links

eBay links for "MQX POWER GeForce GT610 1GB PCI VGA,DVI,HDMI 3D Video Card Graphics":